32-34 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, W1J 7QN
Nearest Tube: Green Park
020 7495 0302
Expect to pay: Desserts a la carte £10-£12.50 each
Based in Shepherd Market, Mayfair, William Curley is a chic, elegant chocolatier and patisserie. This tiny shop has just enough seating for a genteel crowd and if you have a special someone to treat, who likes seeing their treat made in front of them, isn't in a hurry and appreciates a dessert experience costing as much as a main meal, then bring that special someone to William Curley: it's a delight.
It's clear what kind of quality and price range William Curley offers when the counter displays slabs of beautiful handmade chocolate at £7.50 for a bar equivalent in size to an average Green & Blacks. That's indulgence but equally indulgent is the chance to strike a pretty pose at a tiny, chic table while sipping a rich hot chocolate with a cake that is more work of art than sweet treat. Even more indulgent is the dessert bar: perch yourself at one of 7 seats around a high counter and await for a specially trained William Curley dessert chef to appear who will then, in the little kitchen area behind the counter, prepare your order in front of you.
To prepare you for the dessert to come, each person gets a pre-dessert. We were given a refreshing passionfruit and mango sorbet concoction, tart and mouth-watering that got us in the mood for more. Our classic millefeuille and rum baba were sublime, rich and full-flavoured and very fresh. We watched as pastry, cream and sauce came together for the millefeuille, then drooled as the generous measure of rum was drizzled over the seared pineapple and baba sponge, all while freshly peeled apples caramelised in a pan as the finish on the millefeuille.
Service, dessert and surroundings was worth every penny and was a different, delightful dessert experience. Let's hope the dessert bar concept catches on and we get to have more of these lovely, chocolate-covered afternoons around town.